Monthly Archives: September 2014

SSTS #2 – Day 3

It’s another lunch hour and that means I’m multitasking to write the next part of this challenge story.  For those that don’t know, these are stories that I’ve challenged myself to write, on the spot, as a blog post – unedited, no going back.  This is as rough as a rough draft gets, so look past inconsistencies as best you can.  To check out any SSTS material, click the link on the menu bar.  To go back and read this one from the beginning, click HERE


After a few moments, the door to the interrogation room flew open.  The supervisor and lead guard entered, purposefully.  The guard closed the door much more firmly than necessary causing a metallic clank that reverberated in the room.  He stood by the door as his boss dragged one of the steel chairs to the table, and sat opposite the old man.

The man seemed unphased, still wearing the same calm, welcoming smile he had since he’d arrived at the security desk two hours earlier.

“James,” he said.  “I’m glad your here.  I assure you, all of this is unnecessary.  I’m not here to cause any problems.  I just need to speak with Walter O’Leary.”

“How do you know my name.”  He said as more of a statement than a question.

“It’s just as I have been telling them; I know what I need to know.  And I know your Nana loved you very much and that you are not one to judge someone you don’t know so quickly.”

James’ eyes went wide and he had to focus to keep himself composed.  “If you knew so much, then you’d know my grandmother died years ago.”

“Oh, I know.”

James sat for a second not sure how to proceed, then tossed the datapad on the table.  “Well then, help me to know a few things.  We can’t find a single trace of you in the system.  In a legal sense, you might as well not exist.  Now I’m sure I can find a Walter O’Leary, somewhere, for you to talk to.  But I need something from you.  How about a name?”

The old man, smiled more broadly and chuckled.  “Of course.  My name is Simon.  Simon Peter.”

James stared blankly and looked to his subordinate.  “Check it out.”

The guard left leaving the two seated at the table.

“So…uh…Simon, why do you need to see O’Leary so badly?”

“Again, just as I told them, he is in charge of the machine.”

James tried to look disinterested.  “And if he does?”

“He needs to turn it off,” Simon said, calmly, but with a seriousness that was on par with the kindliness of his smile.

“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation,” James said, under his breath.  “Do you know what the machine does for this country?”

“Yes,” he said.  “It decides who lives…and who dies.”  Simon’s smile dissipated into a cold stare.  “That’s how I met your Nana.”


My lunch hour is over and its time to stop.  Looks like 400 or so words in about 45 minutes.  Not bad considering I went two months with no progress at all.  I like where this one is going.  Hopefully, I’ll get to spend some real time on it so we can get there.

Thanks for stopping by.



SSTS Challenge #2 – Day 2

Well, I didn’t get back to this over the weekend…or the following two months…so I’m pretty much coming back to it cold.  The momentum I had from day one is a dim memory.  So now, be amazed as I multitask by writing and eating lunch at work at the same time.  I haven’t even set word one to the page yet, and it already feels good to be writing again, even if it is for less than an hour.   Looking back at Day One, of this story, I already see some significant changes that should be made, but that’s for when its all said and done.  Time to get back to work.  If you’re new to this one, go back and read day one HERE.



The lead guard handed the data pad over to his supervisor. “There’s not much to the report, but it was a clear code fifteen.”

The man skimmed through the text and grunted.  “Stunning him in front of a hundred people on the concourse might have been a bit much.”

“Protocol is clear on this.  He’s not chipped and he was asking about the machine.”

“True enough,” the supervisor said, turning to the two-mirror that seperated them from the holding room.  The man they were talking about was seated at the interview table, none the worse for wear.  “Could be a wacko.  What else do we know about him?”

“Nothing.  No chip means no historical data.  DNA isn’t registered.  We even went old-school checking fingerprints and got nothin’.  Even his clothes are custom made.  Nothing traceable.”

The supervisor shook his head.  “Doesn’t make sense.”

“Who’s this guy, O’Leary, that he was asking about?”

He shook his head again.  “No clue.  Nothing on the threat board for that name, either.”  He took a breath as he looked at the man behind the glass again.  “He doesn’t fit the profile to be part of the opposition.  Looks like he could be anyone’s kindly, old grandfather, actually.”

The guard stood, unwavering, with his arms crossed and a furrowed brow.  “Maybe that’s their new M.O.?  ‘If your grandparents are anti-resource management, maybe you should be too’, type of thing?  Personally, I never understood why people would have a problem with it anyway.  Resources perfectly balanced with the population, how horrible!”, he said mockingly.

Then a voice came through the intercom speaker from the next room.  “JamesJames Newman?”

Both the guard and his supervisor, stopped cold.

The old man sat, smiling, looking directly at them through the glass despite the mirror that was facing him.  “James, would your Nana approve of this?”

“Did he just–”  The supervisor barely got the words out as he darted through the door.

That’s all I have time for, folks.  My lunch was interrupted.  I’m not even sure of today’s word count, but I got to write something at least.  Read Day One, then read this and leave comments.  This one is especially rough, at the moment, but with the SSTS challenge, there’s no going back to fix anything until its done.

Thanks for stopping by.

What if you can’t write?

It may be better to phrase the question as:  What if you are unable to write?

Next to having a writer’s block (which, in my opinion, is not possible), or the fear of failure (which is very real), this is probably one of the bigger obstacles a writer can face.  By ‘unable’, I mean physically not having the ability to carve out even thirty minutes of continuous writing time.

Every writer out there has their own way to get around this:  Carry a notebook everywhere you go and write in waiting rooms, the bus, the train, even sitting on the can.  There are ENDLESS ways to get around the I don’t have time excuse.  However, once in a great while, you can’t get around it.  The time just isn’t there.

So how do you cope?  How do you justify it?

I, presently, am in this situation.  You may now be typing in the comments:  “But aren’t you writing right now?  You have time for a blog post!  Why not your writing?”  And you would be right to do so.  It’s a rare occasion.

Everyday, I think about my SSTS challenge that I started this year and haven’t been able to follow through.  The second story sits with only one day written and it bothers me each and every day.  I feel like I’m letting my audience down and it, too, bothers me.

This post is more of a personal vent.  Letting off this steam may allow me to look at my time with a fresh perspective and I might find that one hour to write smack In the middle of my two jobs, outside obligations, and my family.  I’m not the first to be in this rut, and I won’t be the last.  Nor, am I in the worst of time crunch situations.

I want to know you deal with not having time to write.  Do you just ride it out, working toward making the time?  Do you write five minutes here and ten minutes there?  Is the frustration so debilitating, that when you do get to write, you can’t, because all of the words want to rush out at one time and create a pile of nonsense?

I want to know.


But I want to know in the comments